format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Managing the Supplier Relationship and Record

This page covers the processes and related best practices for managing a supplier relationship and record after they are set up and active in the Supplier Query and Request System. It also provides schools and units with guidance and associated resources to properly terminate a contract or purchase order with a supplier or deactivate a supplier record.

Supplier lifecycle management can be generally divided into five stages, which are listed below along with their corresponding Fingate Topic Overviews:

  1. Plan the Supplier Engagement: Refer to Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier.
  2. Select the Supplier: Refer to Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier.
  3. Onboard the Supplier: Topic Overview: Setting Up a New Supplier or Visitor Payee.
  4. Manage the Supplier Relationship and Record is covered on this page, Managing the Supplier Relationship and Record. 
  5. Exit or Terminate the Supplier Relationship is also covered on this page, Managing the Supplier Relationship and Record. 

Schools or units should periodically remind the supplier or visitor payee to make any necessary updates to their record while they are active in the university’s centralized supplier database. Suppliers may refer to Do Business with Stanford for information on managing and maintaining their supplier record. 

A well maintained and current supplier record helps prevent payment processing delays, inability to contact the supplier, or misunderstandings about the agreed upon goods or services. Schools and units should maintain ongoing communication with the supplier or visitor payee for any of the above updates to prevent issues before they arise.

Suppliers and visitor payees are responsible for notifying the university of important changes to their business information, including but not limited to:

  • Points of contact, including name, phone number, email address, and physical address
  • Payment arrangements, including both payment terms and methods
  • Classification of goods sold, or general types of services performed by supplier

The process for updating a record depends on how the supplier or visitor payee is classified within the system:

Individuals (Domestic or Foreign) and Foreign Companies
Changes to contact information or a default payment method (check or ACH) should be made directly by the foreign supplier or visitor payee by contacting the Financial Support Center.  After contacting the Financial Support Center, the foreign supplier or visitor payee will be sent a link to access the Supplier Payee Request Portal to submit data securely. For more information, refer to How to: Complete a Request for Confidential Information in the Stanford Supplier and Payee Request Portal.

Domestic Companies
Suppliers who are U.S. corporations or other U.S.-based business entities can update and maintain their information directly within Stanford’s Supplier and Payee Registry site. Suppliers should log into their company profile on the site and submit an update or change request. If suppliers need their login credentials, they can contact the Financial Support Center. Refer to the Add or Edit Profile Details section of the Learning: Supplier and Payee Registry Quick Reference Guide for instructions on initiating and submitting a change request.

A small number of suppliers that joined Stanford before November 2019 should contact the Financial Support Center to confirm whether their details were uploaded to the Stanford Supplier and Payee Registry. 
Deactivating or Reactivating the Supplier Record
The school or unit should work within the contract or PO process to end their specific contract or PO based engagement with a supplier (see section below on managing the supplier relationship). 

Deactivation of a supplier or visitor payee within Stanford’s system typically happens automatically if there has been no activity (e.g. no further purchase requisitions, payments, invoices or changes to the supplier record) university-wide for a period of 18 months. In rare cases of material issues, such as fraud or gross negligence, the Vendor Services team may manually deactivate a supplier record.

Where appropriate, a school or unit may want to use a deactivated supplier to provide additional goods or services. In those instances, the supplier record must be reactivated prior to working with that supplier. See How to: Make a Supplier or Payee Request for how to submit a request to reactivate the supplier record. Generally, reactivation of a supplier record is limited to suppliers who were amicably deactivated (i.e., not for a material issue such as fraud or gross negligence).

The process of managing the supplier relationship includes the following four steps:

During the planning and supplier selection process, schools and units should determine early on which key performance indicators to use for an engagement and how they will be measured, tracked and reported. 

Once the work begins, schools and units should regularly assess the supplier’s performance against established success criteria or metrics. If a supplier does not deliver the agreed upon product or service, including insufficient quality or late delivery, the school or unit should document any discrepancies and communicate directly with the supplier about options to resolve the issues. If an acceptable resolution cannot be reached, escalate to Procurement Services by submitting a support request

The office receiving the reported issue will coordinate, as applicable, with stakeholders, suppliers, Procurement Services, the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Office of the Chief Risk Officer (OCRO), and senior leadership on appropriate actions.

While a supplier is active in Stanford’s supplier database, schools and units who do business with that supplier review best practices for identifying and addressing:

  • Potentially fraudulent supplier-related activity
  • Dispute resolution processes when there is failure to deliver agreed upon goods or services
  • Payment issues, such as incorrect payment information, delays, or disputed amounts

Identifying Signs of Potential Fraud
Schools and units should understand how to detect potentially fraudulent activity by a supplier or, more typically, by a third-party imposter claiming to be the supplier. For example, phishing and spear phishing make up a significant portion of fraud involving suppliers or visitor payees. Typical signs of potential fraud include:

  • Misspelled or unusual email addresses (e.g., “amazom” instead of “amazon”)
  • Persistent, urgent, and/or unprofessional communications, especially regarding payments or significant changes (e.g., change of bank account)
  • Unexpected or odd-looking invoices, or demands for payments outside of your arrangement
  • Out-of-character behavior (e.g., financial officers writing out bank details in email)
  • Unusual and sudden reluctance to provide documents or information
  • Unexpected and sudden involvement of new companies

If a school or unit suspects potential fraud related to a supplier or visitor payee, contact the Vendor Services team by submitting a support request

Managing Disputes
Schools and units should communicate regularly with their suppliers and discuss, as early as possible, any concerns about the supplier not meeting expectations. Disputes generally arise where expectations have been misaligned. Schools and units should be prepared to take any reasonable actions necessary to reach an acceptable resolution to disputes. In some situations, schools and units can request that the Accounts Payable (AP) team place a hold on an invoice, allowing additional time to communicate with the supplier and reach a reasonable resolution. 

If a school or unit has a dispute with a supplier or visitor payee that they are unable to resolve, they should obtain assistance from Procurement by submitting a support request

During the initial supplier engagement planning process, schools and units should determine when and how they expect a supplier relationship to end. In most cases, there’s a natural end of the contractual engagement once the supplier has finished providing the specific goods or services. In other cases, there may be reasons to end a contract early. Schools and units should reference the termination process outlined in their purchase order and/or contract.  The early termination of a contract or purchase order will apply only to that specific purchase order and/or contract, and does not terminate the supplier’s contracts with other Stanford schools and units or their relationship to the entire university community.

If a school or unit has reason to believe that Stanford’s relationship with a specific supplier should be terminated on behalf of the entire university community, they should submit a help ticket with details.   Procurement will then coordinate with OGC, OCRO, stakeholders and senior leadership to determine appropriate actions. 

If a staff member is aware of conduct that violates, or anticipates a situation that potentially violates, university policies such as the Code of Conduct or Conflict of Commitment and Interest, they should notify the appropriate university officer or reach out to the Ethics & Compliance helpline.

After goods or services are delivered to the school or unit, a supplier or visitor payee should refer to the Topic Overview: Purchase Order Invoice Processing for information on the invoice payment process, prompt payment requirements for purchase orders (PO) and where to send invoices or credit memos. 

It’s essential that supplier and visitor payee records have accurate, complete payment information so that the university can process payments in a timely manner and to the correct recipients. Missing or inaccurate payment details can lead to delays in setup or payment issues. Schools and units may refer suppliers to Do Business With Stanford for more information on maintaining payment information. 

Procurement Services will communicate directly with suppliers and/or visitor payees to resolve payment issues, including discrepancies in documentation.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2024